Most of the estimated 3,500 tigers that still roam the wild live in 42 relatively contained enclaves in India, Sumatra and Far Eastern Russia, with a smattering in Malaysia, Thailand and Laos. But those so-called source sites are losing ground to development, forestry and poaching and must be protected to save the tigers from extinction, according to a new paper from a group of conservationists, academics and government officials.
The paper, to be published on Tuesday in the Public Library of Science Biology journal, notes that the tigers have been squeezed down to less than 7 percent of their historical range across all of East Asia, making it critical that the big cats in those habitats be effectively protected and monitored.
The cost of these efforts is quite modest, according to John G. Robinson of the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York, one of the authors of the paper. He said that protecting the 42 source sites would cost $82 million a year, more than half of which is already being provided by governments. The remainder — about $35 million — is roughly what the Yankees pay Alex Rodriguez each year in salary and benefits, Mr. Robinson noted.
You know that I have to do the math: The cost per tiger saved is $23,429.
*Insert your own alternative title with a play on "Tiger" instead of A-Rod.